6 Pros and 6 Cons of Living with Roommates

6 Pros and 6 Cons of Living with Roommates
Credit: iStock.com/tefanamer

Are you planning to live with roommates? They can make renting cheaper and fun, but they can also make this experience more difficult than it should be. This is why it is so important to consider the pros and cons of each living situation, including having roommates or living alone.

Here are the pros and cons of living with roommates that you should keep in mind when trying to figure out where to live next and with whom.

The advantages of living in a shared apartment: savings on rent

One of the main advantages of living with a roommate or a few roommates is that you can split the rent. Even if you and your roommates share the rent based on the size of the private living spaces, you’re probably spending even less on rent than you would on your own.

Cons: potential financial risks

When you have roommates, you need to rely on them to pay their fair share of the rent to make sure you both have a place to stay. Plus, if you or your roommate pays your rent late, you could jeopardize your excellent rental history or have to pay late fees.

Depending on how your landlord handles rent, you may be able to sign separate leases so that you and your roommate pay the rent separately and are not responsible for paying each other. This situation is not as common as being on the same lease and paying rent together. This is why it is so important to make sure that your roommate has the financial stability to pay the rent and pay it on time.

To: Split shared expenses

It is common for roommates to split up shared bills like electricity, cable / internet and other utilities. This means that you can save at least 50% on all of those essential expenses. Plus, you can choose to share groceries, home or apartment furniture, and other amenities that you and your roommates want. For example, you can buy shared groceries like eggs, milk, and bread or even a lunch box.

Disadvantage: depending on others to pay the bills

When sharing expenses, you must depend on your roommates to give you money to pay for utilities (if your name is on the account) or pay those bills on time after giving them money (if their name is on the account). Be sure to discuss who will be the name on which utility accounts, when the bills need to be paid to that person so that they pay the bill on time, and how you will handle other shared expenses.

Pro: Extra help with household chores

Having a roommate means you have someone to share chores with. You are both responsible for doing the dishes, taking out the trash and cleaning the common areas. You can make sure everyone is doing their part by having a task board that schedules everyone for a specific task each day or alternating days and weeks. While this may sound like something your parents made you do to earn a stipend, it can help hold everyone accountable and distribute tasks fairly.

You can also create tasks specific to certain people. For example, you may hate cleaning the bathroom and your roommate may hate doing the dishes. So you might suggest doing the dishes if they are cleaning the bathroom. You can also make everyone responsible for their share of some cleaning tasks, like doing your own dishes or cleaning your bathroom space.

Disadvantage: More mess to clean up

While you can share tasks, you also have to deal with more clutter. Even if your roommate is relatively well-groomed, it still contributes to dirtying the dishes, messing up the bathroom, and creating dust.

In addition, your roommates may have a different standard of cleanliness than yours. This means that they may not notice or think that an area is dirty enough to mop or have the initiative to clean up a space before things get out of hand. That’s why it’s important to discuss what the two of you expect in terms of clean shared spaces and who is responsible for which tasks.

Pro: Share furniture and other household items

When you live with one or more roommates, you often have to split the cost of furniture for shared spaces, divide who buys what items, or bring your own furniture and items that others can share. This can make furnishing your rental less expensive because you don’t foot the bill for all the new things. It also speeds up the space planning process since you don’t wait to buy the items you need if you don’t have the money to do so when you move in.

Disadvantage: no more compromises

When you live with other people, you need to discuss what everyone prefers in terms of style, furnishings, and amenities. Maybe you prefer a more modern decor, but your roommate likes traditional styles. You will need to agree on the styles and furnishings of the shared space, the temperature of the rental or the essentials, such as central heating and air conditioning, a dishwasher or a laundry room in the unit.

Pro: New or stronger relationship

You can move in with complete strangers, acquaintances, friends or romantic partners. Living together can forge or strengthen relationships as you tend to spend a lot of time with your roommates.

Disadvantage: no friendship guaranteed

However, you and your roommates may not get along, which can strain any current or potential relationship. It’s best to enter a roommate situation by being friendly, cooperative, and open to spending time getting to know each other. But don’t expect a friendship to flourish. You need to be prepared for a previous relationship to change if being a roommate doesn’t work.

Pro: someone to spend time with

Even if you don’t become your roommate’s best friend, you still have someone in the house to chat with or hang out with in town.

Disadvantage: less privacy

Having someone else in the house means you have less privacy to do what you want when you want. Additionally, there might be a lifestyle conflict between you and your roommates. Maybe you have to get up early for work and your roommates like to go to bed late and play music.

In addition to these advantages and disadvantages, you may have other considerations that are unique to you. But it’s important to understand the potential situations you may encounter with roommates to make sure it’s the right decision for you right now.